I want to run an awesome game, but I can't. Ever have that problem?


Gamer Life General Discussion


I have Razor Coast and all of the supplements. I want to run it, but with modifications. Seeing as how Razor Coast has a lot of Pacific flavor, I wanted to add in some Chinese characters. Like, put a Chinatown among the settlers, add in some Chinese pirates, explorers, and traders to encounter, and so on. I also imagine there is a Japanese ninja around, but everybody thinks he is Chinese because they see few Japanese people, and the ninja makes no effort to clear up the confusion, because the confusion is useful. This does, of course, mean that the players get the option of being East Asian, and can use material from Heroes of the Jade Oath if it doesn't violate the tone of the campaign. Also, I have Secrets of the Gunslinger, A Brace of Pistols, Grit and Gunslingers, Class Options: Gunslingers, and Way of the Samurai, all of which would be allowed. Firearms options galore! Firearms would be simple weapons. I'd replace the all the Divine spellcasters with Psychic Spellcasters, but let Druids and Shamans function as Psychic spellcasters.

It would be awesome. I also can't run it, because I move to a new city next week, then start at a new university and adjust to a new groove and a new job, and then I have medical stuff to worry about, and now that I'm a Junior school work is supposed to come in heavier loads. Plus, I'm working on my modern magitech campaign setting, which running an age of sail game would interfere with greatly. So, now would be the absolute worst time to start up a campaign, even a play by post. Which is sad, because I have an awesome idea. Does that ever happen to you guys? You really want to run a campaign, but you can't?


With this being the age of Roll20, personally find it hard to relate a bit. If you post it, they will come. There are people with strange schedules and more than willing to meet even for short gaming. Half might not read your application instructions but there is gold to be found if you dig long enough.

The only time I really encountered this was during my first job, but it was due to expectations from while I was in university. These were the typical meet for an entire day (and sometimes night till the next day) gaming sessions that a job didn't allow. It was mostly an issue of expectations. Today most of my gaming tends to be solid four hour blocks. Players can get a lot done in that time if they put their minds to it and it maybe cuts into a night of sleep here and there pretty minimally.


In my case "I can't" means I lack the GMing ability.

I want to run awesome games, but the only time I didn't burn out partway through was a one-shot I picked up part-way into the beginning. I just don't seem to have the patience to run anything long.


I can sympathise with both of those issues. My major problem comes from having too many ideas, my focus seems to shift over time between projects which can mean that like Silvercat I'll get burnt out on a game that I'm running, and of course I have so many "great" ideas for plots that I cant run anything short and sweet, things just keep extending ad-infinitum until the game or project eventually collapses under its own gargantuan weight.
All the while of course I have several dozen half-formed ideas for different games using different systems, settings, themes, ideas. The games that I do run are often radically different from what I'd intended, because I can't quite seem to articulate it the way I have envisioned it or the ideas don't seem to workout at the table or I find that I have the wrong players or too many players who destroy some of the themes that I wanted to explore. So that means there are several ideas and projects that have to be shelved because the "high concept" would be ruined or the players I have available wouldn't get it, or that because I have a problem saying no I'd been swamped with too many players and too much work.

I often come out of sessions a bit disappointed that I didn't manage to do as much work, or execute things well enough, I feel that everything I did was too slapdash or hastily constructed. Though my players seem to have fun and assure me that I'm a good GM, at times I don't feel it. Anyone else get that?

Also, good to see you again Silvercat!


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My problem comes from being stuck in the past, and having expectations of certain kinds of role playing behavior that simply do not exist any more.


Kale_Fangblade wrote:
I often come out of sessions a bit disappointed that I didn't manage to do as much work, or execute things well enough, I feel that everything I did was too slapdash or hastily constructed. Though my players seem to have fun and assure me that I'm a good GM, at times I don't feel it. Anyone else get that?

Yep, one of my problems.

GMs like us may be suited to running one-shots: I did okay when I picked up one someone else was running, and managed to run through one adventure one other time in an "ongoing" game before burning out next adventure.

Grand Lodge

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Terquem wrote:
My problem comes from being stuck in the past, and having expectations of certain kinds of role playing behavior that simply do not exist any more.

I agree with the second part, but not that first part about "being stuck in the past", makes it sound like preferring or even retaining these expectations is a bad thing...


I've had those issues in the past too, with being unable to run the game I envisioned in my head. I had an Earthdawn and a Traveller game fall apart on me due to vastly different expectations between myself as GM and the rest of the group as players. My solution has been to let other people GM instead, and you know what? I've been much happier with that arrangement!


Haven't DMed in a long while now. Been wanting to get back into the swing of things and keep trying to do a campaign with just me and my fiance, but one of us always seems to burn out with the game. Then again, I generally never liked running published campaigns myself. Slot-able modules, sure, but whole campaigns, not that much.

On the other hand, I've got folders, binders, and files chock FULL of adventure and campaign material. From the harmless solve an ancient puzzle (Gordian Knot) which unlocks the prison of an ancient and terrible eldritch abomination that has nothing to do with the cultists that attacked the town originally; to an epic that spans from the depths of the ocean to the void of space, across the planes, and finally into the hollow heart of the world itself. And everything in between and beyond, even have some otome/dating-sim styled solo campaign ideas for single play with my fiance, lol. Problem is, I'd rather not do any of these until I've shaken off a good portion of the rust... Since, you know... Wanna do 'em "right"...


Thread res!

I popped in here because I feel the title often. I tend to homebrew most of the time and when I tell friends about ideas they're like "that's cool! you should totally run that!" but somehow the translation from idea to execution just fizzles.

Most game systems I play are abstractions and are combat-centric. You can't have superstitions against fey; they're CR x creatures identifiable by skill y and even if you don't know exactly what they are you know a greatsword to the face will pretty much solve the problem.

So a lot of the time what sounds good on paper just doesn't translate to the mechanics of the system or I myself am just not talented enough to express the ideas within the confines of the game. In the end it just ends up a tactical exercise with loot at the end.


Yes, OP. Yes I do.

Every time I want to run a game that is not D&D or any of its incarnations (including Pathfinder) the amount of interested people seems to dry up. I've wanted to run Eclipse Phase (for those who don't know, it's like Ghost in the Shell and Call of Cthulhu in space) for the longest time but can never find interested people :(

Maybe it's just where I live. G%~!~~nit Rhode Island.

Grand Lodge

Mark Hoover wrote:
You can't have superstitions against fey

You can, but you definitely need to have players that are on the same page as you are with it, that are willing to react appropriately, or at the very least, have mechanics such as the Ravenloft setting's Fear & Horror checks (but even then, you need players to be willing to play with such mechanics in place).

Though running a game in such a manner does tend to kind of make your games a bit darker thematically and much more "horror-based" (which can be a good thing if you like that style of play).


I have plenty of ideas, but I'm just not good enough at improv to pull any real atmosphere off, which saddens me.


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I guess I'm just getting old and tired. I have AWESOME game ideas but recently when game night arrives they're lame as hell. This past weekend I had a great idea for a city that was being invaded by Kytons. The players seemed to enjoy it, but I didn't. I used to run really, really great games (yes, I'm bragging, but I feel it's true), but it's just not the case anymore.


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The reality never meets our imagination...


There's another problem I ran into while running games which is just as problematic. Ever have a story arc go beautifully, and by that I mean you run a perfect story which everyone enjoys, but then follow it up with a bunch of disappointing sessions before you finally decide to quit running the campaign?

I ran a fantastic story arc in Warhammer 40k: Deathwatch, where the characters had to run a joint mission with 3 other space marine teams, one of which was (unknowingly) harboring a traitor. The tension and suspense at the table was incredible for those 4 sessions or so. But I never managed to recapture that magic for the rest of the campaign.


HeHateMe wrote:
There's another problem I ran into while running games which is just as problematic. Ever have a story arc go beautifully, and by that I mean you run a perfect story which everyone enjoys, but then follow it up with a bunch of disappointing sessions before you finally decide to quit running the campaign?

Yep. Several times over the last few years.

Dark Archive

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Question for GMs who are having disappointing sessions:

How much prep work are you putting into your sessions?

To clarify: Prior to your actual sessions how much time do you go through walk-throughs, self questions about "this is how I am going to run this part" or "this is how I am going to describe this monster"?

The reason why I ask is this. I sort of ran an experiment recently with my own created Post Holocaust game. Prior to running any of the sessions I already had a module around half-way written. 16 typed pages of encounters, new creatures, npcs....pretty good PA exploration material.

While I have been running the game I am simultaneously writing out the rest of the module (I am following my own outline) but I am also running into the issue of writing and re-writing the core game system we are using and testing. The current page count in small font is 26 pages. At close it should be around 36 or 42 pages long.

The game writing has taken up so much time that I am barely ahead of my players in detailed module write-up and I hardly spend any time going through the nights potential encounters and staging them in my GM mind's eye like a director setting the stage.

And its suffered. The players are having a blast - but IDK, something is off. There are not as many detailed encounters with interesting descriptions because I am spending more time on rules writing and system testing than I am on the test scenario. My players know that the core game is more important than the scenario since I want to eventually publish the system, so they are being good sports when I eat up an hour pre-game spending going over the rules ideas, changes to skills, mutations, etc. I still want a good adventure though, and for the most part I have delivered - I have just noticed a correlation between me putting less attention on the adventure in the more recent sessions.

-----

In the past when would I read and then re-read a module (published) or went over one of my modules in a sort of pre-session prep - the outcome in quality of GMing, play and increase in player enjoyment was noticeable.

I don't know how many other GMs do the exercise a day or two before actual game day.


Digitalelf wrote:
Mark Hoover wrote:
You can't have superstitions against fey

You can, but you definitely need to have players that are on the same page as you are with it, that are willing to react appropriately, or at the very least, have mechanics such as the Ravenloft setting's Fear & Horror checks (but even then, you need players to be willing to play with such mechanics in place).

Though running a game in such a manner does tend to kind of make your games a bit darker thematically and much more "horror-based" (which can be a good thing if you like that style of play).

No, but that's just what I'm saying: you need a MECHANIC in place to represent the superstitions. What if there was no mechanic?

You'd need REALLY engaged players on the same page with your GMing and a lot of trust in you, but I think you could do it. Unfortunately even when I have decent player buy in I STILL screw it up.

I tried storyteller games when I was a kid. I never seemed to elicit the emotional reactions I was trying to get. I fell back on more combat as a crutch and never really let go.

In short: I'm kind of a terrible GM.


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Y'know what helped me have a decent session recently? Sort of along the lines of what Aux-ilery said above, but it wasn't mechanics prep. I knew the session was going to be a lot of talking with an NPC, an aberrant 10 year old girl named Little Bertha. To make it memorable I gave her a couple quirks.

Several times before the session I practiced her voice. I'd droop my arm, slack my jaw and speak with a lisp. I also really paid attention to how my daughter and her friends talked. I picked speech patterns and words they or kids younger than them might use.

It worked out pretty well. My players liked it and I felt dialed in. I think that when me and my players are all working WITH each other it's a fun time. Personally I think the thing that helped was practicing the NPC quirks.

So before a session now, if I have some exposition I'm going to do I practice it like I would if I was giving a speech or presentation at work. I try and prep at least one key scene (we only play 3 hour sessions so there's not tons of scenes to choose from) and really get it stuck in my brain so when it comes up I know how to deliver it with confidence.

Grand Lodge

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Mark Hoover wrote:
I never seemed to elicit the emotional reactions I was trying to get.

Eliciting horror, fear, or any number of other, similar emotions in an rpg is tough. Players can sometimes be rather unconsciously blasé about things; forgetting their role in those particular circumstances.

I think this is why a lot of horror-based rpgs have mechanics set in place such as fear, horror, and even madness checks. It reminds players that their characters, in certain situations are not supposed to be the big bad undefeatable heroes® of the game!

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